The new book Rickenbacker Guitars – Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fireglo will be published by Phantom Books on November 29. Marking the 90th anniversary of the famous electric guitar model, it’s written by Martin and Paul Kelly, who have travelled the world to gather 350 original examples of the guitar that helped shape rock music.
The instruments, including all seven surviving Rickenbackers owned by The Beatles (who played them on their stories 1964 debut on The Ed Sullivan Show) have been beautifully photographed for this comprehensive study. The guitars made by this small, family-run business were crucial to the sound of such heroes as Rush, Motörhead, The Jam, Fugazi, the Byrds, Creedence Clearwater Revival, R.E.M., the Stone Roses, The Who, Yes, and of course The Beatles themselves.
Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fireglo tells the story of how the guitar was created and developed in California during the early 1930s by George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacker. It details how unsung German luthier Roger Rossmeisl helped turn the company’s designs into truly fabled instruments.
There are new interviews with such Rickenbacker devotees as Roger McGuinn, Peter Buck, Susanna Hoffs, Johnny Marr, Mike Campbell, Geddy Lee, and Paul Weller, as well as existing commentary from John Lennon, George Harrison, and Tom Petty.
Initial orders can only be made via the Phantom Books website. The book is the follow-up to Martin and Paul Kelly’s Fender The Golden Age 1946-1970, first published by Cassell Illustrated in 2010.
The new book will be available as a standard softback priced at £35 ($47) and as a limited edition Super Deluxe two-volume set at £175 ($235), of which just 800 copies will be available worldwide. This edition comes in a bespoke, embossed slip case that includes the 336-page book in a textured hardback cover, with end papers signed and numbered by the authors.
The Super Deluxe also uniquely contains a second 160-page book of Rickenbacker catalog reprints from 1933-1969. These extraordinarily rare artefacts are being reprinted in their entirety for the very first time. The slip case also includes an embossed card wallet containing three specially produced posters: one depicting all seven surviving Beatle Rickenbackers, a second featuring six famous 330 guitars played by Paul Weller with The Jam, and a replica 1960s shop poster.
Roger McGuinn enthuses of the book: “The attention to detail is amazing! I’ve been playing Rickenbacker guitars for over 50 years and had heard some of the history but learned so much more from Rickenbacker Guitars – Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fireglo. Thanks for such a wonderful history of my favorite guitar!”
Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles adds: “There are few things more satisfying than the shimmer of an open chord played on a Rickenbacker through a Fender Deluxe Reverb amplifier. With Rickenbacker Guitars – Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fireglo, Martin and Paul have given us the definitive history of these magical instruments.”
Geddy Lee from Rush says: “In 1967, I watched The Beatles make history by playing ‘All You Need Is Love’ live on television via satellite, and the entire time I was transfixed on the rather odd looking piece of 4 stringed furniture Paul McCartney held in his mitts. Of course, I know now, that it was a Rickenbacker 4001S Bass, and I’d have to wait until 1973 before my dream of owning one like it could come to fruition.
“As a favor to all lovers of musical instruments, Martin and Paul Kelly have combined art and information to create the definitive book about Rickenbacker in all its profound and quirky incarnations. It’s a joy to the eyes and is a must have reference guide to this fascinating and historic musical brand.”